Scripture: Isaiah 2:1-5 Melissa began her sermon on this first Sunday of Advent by sharing a rendition of Down by the Riverside by Rosetta Tharpe. In the Isaiah passage, God paints a picture for Isaiah of a world where tools of war become obsolete. That is a pretty bold vision for people locked into a […]
Scripture: Luke 23: 33-43 On this Sunday celebrating the reign of Jesus, Melissa shared the image of some graffiti archaeologists uncovered depicting a man with his arm raised toward a man with a donkey’s head nailed to a cross. Under it bears the inscription “Alexamenos adores his god.” There are frequently two depictions of Jesus. […]
Melissa reflects on and gives voice to the hypothetical woman who was married to seven brothers from the story in Luke 20:27-38. The Sadducees pose this question about the resurrection, but all along what Jesus wanted to tell the Sadducees, wanted to tell us, is that all women, all people, need good news. We need […]
Scripture: Ephesians 1:11-23 On this All Saints Day Melissa provided the message, explaining that saints are people who have lived in a way that help us believe that God is real. They are not necessarily the ones who are the best at believing stuff. Saints carry faith for one another and make make God credible […]
Melissa shared The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14) in its original form and as it might play out right here at Raleigh Mennonite. This version as acted out had a Bishop, a philanthropist, an activist and a payday lender. The first three were smug in their righteousness and celebrated that […]
Melissa began the four-part message sharing the story of the widow who demanded justice from the judge in Luke 18:1-8. This was followed by three stories of RMCers who shared out of their calling to work for social justice in their varied roles: Rachel “RED” Davis, Elizabeth Korver-Glen and David Rohrer.
A peak into a special part of the service for the youngest members of our community when Melissa shares with them how much God loves them. Take a listen!
Scripture: Jeremiah 32: 1-3a, 6-15 In the final sermon of the four Melissa preached reflecting on her sabbatical, she focuses on hope, even in the midst of incredibly trying times. Often times it’s difficult to see hope in current circumstances, but frequently it’s churning and breathing below the surface, even if we can’t see it. […]
In the midst of our busyness it’s easy to miss the beauty of God’s extravagant creation all around us. Through the poetry of Psalm 65 and several more modern authors, Melissa recounts more of her sabbatical journey and encourages us to stop and notice that we too are a part of the joyful abundance of […]
Scripture: Ezekiel 18:1-4, 19-32 Melissa continued sharing about some of the experiences from her sabbatical, this time about Belfast and the historical divisions between Catholics and Protestants. Each of us is more than our past, more than our histories. More than the actions and illnesses of our parents in our nations and our communities. Your […]
Scripture: Jeremiah 18:1-11, Luke 14:25-33 Melissa is back from her sabbatical and will use this month’s sermons to report on several aspects of her family’s travels and some of the learnings along the way. This Sunday she contrasted the work of Akram, a Palestinian craftsperson who recycles tear gas canisters into works of art, with […]
I Corinthians 12:12-26, Luke 24:44-53 On this last Sunday before Melissa and her family leave for a three-month sabbatical, it was also Ascension Sunday. It was also the Sunday following another deadly mass killing in a Texas school, and just a week after a mass shooting in a Taiwanese church in LA, and a day […]
Colossians 2:6-18 It was our annual covenant renewal Sunday, plus the opportunity to welcome new members, plus baby dedication for two of our newest beloveds, along with communion. A full Sunday! In covenanting with others at Raleigh Mennonite, we’re deciding together to trust that a certain story is true, that we can trust that story […]
Scripture: John 21:1-19 Jesus visits the disciples a third time after his resurrection, this time as some of them have been fishing. “Where is Melissa going with this sermon?” That’s what many were thinking as she started her sermon, telling us that our bodies are “an island of creatures.” The real body of Jesus joins […]
Melissa starts out with a story of Brer Rabbit for the children on this Holy Humor Sunday. She then recounts how those who had been enslaved in our country knew how to quietly and secretly assert their resistance, trickery, and humor. They would use ordinary means to confront power they could not fight openly. When […]
On this Easter Sunday we celebrate that creation is reborn, and we with it. The tomb opens and life is born from it. You can’t thwart it or destroy it. You can’t even unbelieve it, or overpower it. Because all that’s left to do here is to bear witness.
We’re brought up in a system that divides people from commodities. All that other stuff–oceans, animals, trees–all of it is neutral material used to benefit people to make us happier or richer, or to give us more space or more stuff. But we can’t separate ourselves from other creatures because over and over in the […]
In this continuing series during Lent, today’s story is about Mary pouring out expensive perfume, washing Jesus’ feet with it and drying his feet with her hair. Rather than agreeing with Judas’ chastisement for wasting money on such extravagance, Jesus says, “She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my […]
The parable is The Prodigal Son but Melissa’s sermon focused on the older brother. The brother that stayed behind, served his father, tended the fields and flock and waited for his inheritance. He’s working in the field when his brother returns having squandered the inheritance he demanded while his father was still alive. Facing starvation […]
Continuing the series during Lent, Melissa preached from Luke 13:1-9. Despair is that intractable boulder that won’t move. Despair is the feeling of weariness after prying and pushing and pulling with all your might. From the passage, Jesus doesn’t provide pat answers when folks come to him in despair. “No, I tell you, but unless […]
On this first Sunday of Lent, Melissa preached from Luke 4:1-13, the story of Jesus’ temptation. The last two years of the pandemic have held untold losses. We are entering Lent brimming with trauma and fear of these past two years. We each have been holding in so much. It’s hard to know what the […]
Melissa preached from Zechariah 8:1-8. The passage begins with Zechariah prophesying of God’s jealousy. We tend to use the words jealousy, envy and coveting all interchangeably, but in the Bible there are important subtleties. Envy comes from emptiness. Jealousy comes from being full. God doesn’t want other things. God wants you. God’s jealous love is […]
Today’s reading from Isaiah 16:1-5 opens us to a moment of a refugee crisis; we are reading about this massive disruption that happens across the Near East. Isaiah says “Like fluttering birds, like scattered nestlings, so are the daughters of Moab at the fords of the Arnon.” Due in large part to climate change, so […]
1 Timothy 4:4-5 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. We love family heirlooms not because they are wood or steel or gold but because they are given in love and carry love within them. Your body […]